News Corp Buys VeriSign Subsidiary
News Corp. and VeriSign announced this week their plans to form the world’s largest provider of mobile entertainment. News Corp. will pay approximately $188 million for a controlling interest in VeriSign’s wholly-owned Jamba subsidiary and will combine it with Fox Mobile Entertainment assets.
The companies say the merger will reach 30 territories with a reach of over a billion mobile subscribers. The newly formed company will retain the US Jamster brand and the worldwide Jamba brand. Lucy Hood, formerly President of Fox Mobile Entertainment, will become CEO of the joint venture.
“This is an important step in News Corp.’s strategy of becoming the world’s leading digital media company,” said Peter Chernin, News Corp. President and Chief Operating Officer.
“We’re the most powerful media company on the web with Fox Interactive Media, our aggressive digital content deals have given consumers access to News Corp. programming on every conceivable platform and we have already demonstrated innovation in this emerging space with the Mobisode and Mobizzo.”
Six-year-old Jamba caught News Corp.’s eye for not only the reach of the company but also for what News Corp. called the industry’s most advanced platforms for distributing content.
The new Jamba will aggregation and distribute original content made exclusively for mobile. Jamba partners include Universal Music Group and Warner Music.
Jamba will integrate Fox properties and content into two products:
MySpace Mobile Store: In an alliance with MySpace, Jamba an m-commerce engine to enable MySpace users to download ringtones, graphics and animations from top music and media companies.
The Simpsons Mobile: Jamba will offer mobile content from via subscription to the popular FOX series, The Simpsons, including wallpapers, screensavers, ringtones and video.
The transaction is expected to be finalized by the end of 2006.